At Rock City Nottingham, Michael Schenker and his Temple Of Rock Tour once again blew away the East Midlands fans with this “Bridge The Gap 2014” extravaganza!!
He returned with a new support band Western Sand, who also put in a really good performance, airing their own catalogue of songs from their new ‘Cut You Down To Size’ EP.
Starting a little early for some revelers ( due to a noise curfew of 10:00pm ) the main room started to fill steadily while Western Sand got into their paces. A good set with songs like ‘Black Water Revolution‘ with it’s body throbbing 109db beat! Then ‘Broken Bones ‘ which I found particularly good as I liked the contrast between the selected tracks. It started off more melodic than I’d expected it to be, and to be very honest I thought it reminiscent of the 70’s rock group Bad Company, which really got my neck hair tingling!
Into their next track called ‘Cut You Down To Size ‘ from their 2014 EP that led us into ‘Welcome To The Bad Lands’, again another cracking song and this one sounded like it had the legs to last in folks memory’s with that pretty authentic “back water” American sound. ‘Nothing To Lose‘ here you can now get a feel for where the lad’s influences might have come from. I’m sure at least one of the guys is a Hendrix fan. I thought while watching and listening just “wow” that was one hell of a riff to put down.
Doin me wrong
Black water resolution
Cut you down to size
Welcome to the badlands
Nothing to lose
When the guys had finished the set, and after a quick flourish of activity we were now getting ready for everyone’s favorite.
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock European Tour of 2014!
The house was now nearly full to capacity. The Lights went down, the D-tone intro started to play with your senses, a rumbling bass tone that vibrated every beam and rafter and passed through the body sounding like a mystical Nordic beast waking up, and then it’s hand gripping your spine!
BOOM!!! The guys bounded onto the main stage and went straight into the fantastic classic UFO song ‘Doctor Doctor‘, what a way to kick off the night! An excellent choice which put a smile on everyone’s face. The last time I saw Michael was over a year ago, and again at Rock City, he looked pretty good then after his upsets. But this time my god, he looked every bit the man who had his life back in control. An absolute blinder of a performance ensued and the folks around me commented that this was even better than HRH!!! Pretty good praise from an audience who know their rock n roll. The next song ‘When The Wild Wind Blows‘ was from the latest album ‘Bridge The Gap’. Again this one is the type of song that will stick in your mind and you’ll still be singing it the next morning, it’s that memorable and Doogie White’s voice just fits this track perfectly and carry’s really well in either a small venue or in a concert sized arena gig.
What followed was a torrent of Schenker’s hits, ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Victim Of Illusion’ and the epic 1979 Scorpion’s hit ‘Lovedrive ‘. What we got next had to be one of the best guitar lessons ever given on a live stage! Nearly a full 12 minutes of the brilliant instrumental track ‘Coast To Coast ‘. Michael just went into overdrive with this one, and at one point he seemed to drift off into a world we could only wish to dream about. A stunning performance by all the guys, as we just watched in ore at the master black-smith of rock working his iron forge. Even swapping guitars half way through the track to bring out a guitar with a camera strapped to the neck of it! Classic. Dedicating this song to Ronnie James Dio and Gary Moore, they played ‘Before The Devil Knows Your Name ‘ as expected this one went down well with the Rock City crowd. Now jump back to 1977 think UFO and we have another hot song, ‘Too Hot To Handle ‘ an absolutely blinding delivery played to perfection. This was track one on side one of the ‘Lights Out’ album. Two more tracks and we’re now into ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane‘ this has got to be one of the biggest sing-a-longs I’ve experienced for a long time. I don’t think there was one person not singing this magical song, even the sound and lighting tech’s were in on it, Doogie sure knows how to get the fans going.
Last song of the set was the timeless ‘Rock Bottom‘ from 1974, pretty much one of Mr Schenker’s theme songs these days, and it was worth the wait just to hear this played live. After which the guys thanked the house, and duly made their way off stage to a rapturous roar of approval and shouts of “more,more,more”!! To this end the guys came back out after about 2 minutes and cracked off the song ‘Lights Out‘ from 1977. Again when finished the crowd still bayed for more as they guys left the stage for a second time. We all thought that was it, as the lights were dimmed down. Even the sound engineer looked a little confused, so I just sneaked a peek over his shoulder to see why and could see there was to be one more encore! After what seemed like an age, yes, at last! They did indeed come back onto the stage to finish off the night with ‘Black Out ‘ to the relief of the engineers and the delight of everyone else! This time when done drummer Herman Rarebell took to the microphone and thanked everyone for their support over the years. You could see he was truly moved by it all.
In all it was a stunning night out and well worth the wait in the cold Nottingham night air. Roll on 2015 for Michael and the lads as I think it’s going to be a busy new year!
Michael Schenker Group are…
Michael Schenker – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Doogie White – Vocals
Herman Rarebell – Drums
Francis Buchholz – Bass
Wayne Findlay – 7 String Guitar/Keyboards
Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock set-list:
Where the wild winds blow
Armed and ready
Victim of illusion
Coast to coast
Before the Devil knows you’re dead
Lord of the lost and lonely
Let it roll
Into the arena
Too hot to handle
Rock you like a hurricane
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All photographs by Sean Larkin Photography